Mutual Aid and Interjurisdictional Agreements
Other Emergency Operations Plans and Policies
Situations and Assumptions
This emergency operations plan was developed based on the following general assumptions:
Mat-Su Borough Overview
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough, encompassing nearly 25,000 square miles, is comprised of three incorporated cities (Houston, Palmer and Wasilla), two Alaska Native entities (Village of Chickaloon and Knik Tribal Council) more than 20 unincorporated communities, and areas outside those boundaries, all with varying degrees of emergency response and disaster preparedness planning already in place. (See Borough Locator Map.)
The Mat-Su Borough includes portions of the Alaska Range to the northwest, portions of the Chugach Mountains to the southeast, and essentially the entire Talkeetna and Clearwater Ranges in its interior. The Municipality of Anchorage, Upper Cook Inlet, and Knik Arm delineate the Borough's southern border. (See Borough Overview Map.)
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is a second class Borough incorporated in 1964 within the state of Alaska. The Borough has an elected Mayor and Assembly. The Borough Manager acts as chief administrator. The Borough's area-wide powers include: assessment and collection of taxes, education, planning and zoning, parks and recreation, ports, harbors, and wharves, ambulance service, search & rescue, transportation systems, air pollution control, day care facilities, historic preservation, and transient accommodations taxation. The Borough's non-area-wide powers include: fire suppression, regulation of fireworks, motor vehicles and operators, snow vehicles, solid waste, libraries, septic tank waste disposal, economic development, limited health and social service, animal control, water pollution control and local improvement districts for natural gas, electricity, and roads. The Alaska State Troopers maintain off-road powers. Fire service is provided by specific service areas in the Mat-Su Borough. There are eight service areas: Sutton, Butte, Greater Palmer, Wasilla-Lakes, Meadow Lakes, Big Lake, Willow, and Talkeetna. The cities of Palmer and Houston have separate city operated and funded services. (See Fire Service Areas Map.)
The 2006 Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) certified population estimate for the Mat-Su Borough identifies 77,174 residents living in 24,682 square miles. The US Census Bureau's 2008 population estimate for the Mat-Su Borough is over 80,000 and growing. Most of the population is concentrated in the Borough's "core area", the approximately 100 square miles located between and around the cities of Palmer and Wasilla. The Mat-Su Borough is the fastest-growing area in the State of Alaska.
The Borough is traversed by two major federal highways, the Glenn Highway and the Parks Highway. The Glenn Highway traverses the eastern portion of the Borough and connects to the Richardson Highway at Glennallen. The Parks Highway traverses the Borough in a north/south direction parallel to the Susitna River. These two federal highways connect the Borough to the two major population centers of Alaska, Anchorage and Fairbanks, and are the major freight corridors linking the interior of Alaska with the coast. All out-of-state highway traffic travels through the Borough via one of the two interstate highways.
The Knik Arm Ferry Project is proposed to link Port MacKenzie with the Municipality of Anchorage, twenty miles across Knik Arm. The ferry will provide transportation for hundreds of commuters and simplify access to the developing Port.
The Alaska Railroad traverses the Borough in a north/south direction and, for most of its length, parallels the Parks Highway. It is a single track line, with daily passenger service in summer reducing to weekly in winter. Flag stop service is available for areas north of Talkeetna, an area dotted with homesteads and vacation cabins not accessible by road. Development of a commuter rail system providing regular service to Anchorage has long been studied but not implemented due to high costs. Once the population reaches a critical point, commuter rail service may become financially feasible.
Palmer, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Willow and Big Lake each has a Municipal Airport, however there are no scheduled flights. Private aircraft owners and small flight seeing operations utilize both airports as well as the many small unpaved airstrips scattered throughout the Borough. The State Division of Forestry bases its wildland firefighting air operations out of the Palmer Municipal Airport. The Borough contains more private airstrips per capita than any community of similar size in the United States.
Community Profiles of the Cities, Communities, and Villages in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are available through the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development's Community Information Summaries, online at www.commerce.state.ak.us/dca. The Community Profiles provide information about the local economy, demographics, political leaders, and infrastructure.
Contact the Borough GIS Department for incident-specific mapping support.
Mat-Su Borough Locator Map
Mat-Su Borough Overview Map
Mat-Su Borough Fire Service Areas
During 2008, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will finalize and adopt an All-Hazard Mitigation Plan to fulfill the FEMA requirement under The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Act), Section 322, Mitigation Planning enacted by Section 104 of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA) (P.L. 106-390). The DMA 2000, Section 322 (a-d), as implemented through 44 CFR Part 201.6 requires that local governments, as a condition of receiving federal disaster mitigation funds, have a mitigation plan that describes the process for identifying hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities; identifying and prioritizing mitigation actions, encouraging development of local mitigation and providing technical support for those efforts. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough All-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies hazards; establishes community goals and objectives, and develops mitigation strategies and activities that are appropriate for the Borough.
In addition to the hazards identified above as being present in the Mat-Su Borough, this EOP also addresses five other types of emergencies: Energy Shortage, Oil/Hazardous Materials Release, Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Pandemic Flu, and Transportation Incidents. Since Mat-Su Borough All-Hazards Mitigation Plan focuses on natural disasters, these types of incidents are not included in the Hazard Mitigation Plan at this time.
Hazard-Specific Response Checklists
Based on the hazard analysis in the mitigation plan and the input from participants in the 2008 update to the Mat-Su Borough EOP, the following hazards are included in Part 2 of this EOP:
The occurrence of any one or more of the disaster events previously listed could impact the Mat-Su Borough severely and include any or all of the following possibilities:
Concept of Operations
Emergency Operations Priorities
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough observes the following response priorities:
Role of the Borough in Local Emergencies
This Emergency Operations Plan is concerned with all types of emergency situations that may develop. It also accounts for activities before, during and after emergency operations.
Management of an emergency incident impacting the Mat-Su Borough would be carried out as described in this Emergency Operations Plan. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located at Station 6-1 in Wasilla, serves as a central location for the coordination and support of any type of major emergency or disaster response. The EOC provides a central point for members of the Borough Incident Management Team to guide and support on-scene responders and the on-scene IMT. While the EOC functions primarily to provide a central location for the Borough IMT to provide incident support to the on-scene IMT, there may be occasions where the two functions are co-located in the Borough EOC. If the EOC is damaged or unavailable for use, an alternate facility will be designated.
The functional annexes in Part 3 of this plan describe how the Mat-Su Borough will manage the following emergency operations functions in the event that this EOP is activated:
Phases of Disaster Emergency Management
Disaster emergency management planning can be divided into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Although each phase has tasks assigned to it, the process is dynamic and interconnected. This plan addresses all four phases of disaster emergency management, with a focus on response and recovery.
Basic responsibility for disaster emergency planning and response lies first with individuals and heads of households. Borough employees with assigned emergency response duties should take care of their families first. Each household within the Borough is encouraged to develop a family disaster plan and to maintain the essential supplies to be self-sufficient for five to seven days.
Visit the following Borough, State, and Federal websites for family and personal emergency preparedness brochures and information.
Levels of Emergency Response
When a disaster emergency requires a coordinated response, the following tiered response flow occurs. The response begins with the first responders on-scene, and depending on the incident specifics, may eventually expand to include local, Borough, state, and federal government and/or private sector responders, managers, and resources.
Routine incidents are usually managed by the on-scene first responders (i.e. Fire, Police, EMS), who are dispatched to deal with the emergency.
A local emergency responder, usually the person-in-charge from the responding organization, acts as Incident Commander and leads the response effort at the scene. The Incident Commander (IC) follows standard operating procedures and requests additional assistance as appropriate. The EOP is NOT activated.
If the incident can be effectively managed by the initial Incident Commander and on-scene personnel, no further local or outside involvement may be required.
For a more serious incident, it may be necessary to activate the local emergency response systems. The Borough's incorporated cities have an EOP or emergency plan in place. Smaller communities and unincorporated areas may not function under a discrete plan.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Department of Emergency Services has plans and procedures in place to manage region-wide emergencies, or incidents affecting local or tribal jurisdictions within the region or Borough.
The Borough government is the primary liaison between affected communities (local or tribal governments) and the state under the concept of operations outlined in the State of Alaska Emergency Response Plan for all hazards, and the Federal/State Preparedness Plan for Response to Oil Spills and Hazardous Substance Releases (Unified Plan). Therefore, the local IMT must work through the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Department of Emergency Services when seeking support from the state or federal governments.
The Mat-Su Borough's Director of Emergency Services may request assistance from the State of Alaska when a disaster response exceeds local capabilities. Such a request is coordinated with and routed through the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's (DHS&EM) State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC)
The State of Alaska Emergency Response Plan (ERP) provides guidance and direction for response to all types of emergencies, with the exception of oil spills and hazardous chemical releases, which fall under the Unified Plan. The following define lead agency responsibilities:
A State Coordinating Officer (SCO) is appointed by the Director of DHS&EM under the State ERP. During incidents where a state-level response is mounted, usually in response to a statewide disaster declaration, a State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) will be established to coordinate the response. The core mission of the SECC is to respond to requests for support from local EOCs or IMTs, in accordance with the decisions, objectives, and priorities established by the MAC Group. In addition, the SECC conducts situational assessment and provides reports to a wide variety of agencies and organizations.
The Governor's Disaster Policy Cabinet (DPC), which consists of selected commissioners from Alaska's executive departments, may recommend the need for a state or federal disaster declaration. The DPC will indirectly consider the input of the MAC Group in making such recommendations.
During oil spill and hazardous substance responses, the organizational structure will differ slightly. Instead of an SCO from DHS&EM, ADEC will assign a State On-Scene Coordinator (SOSC) to represent the State in the Unified Command, along with On-Scene Coordinators (OSC) representing the responsible party (RP), the federal government (Federal On-Scene Coordinator or FOSC), and in some cases the local government (Local On-Scene Coordinator or LOSC).
Multi-agency Coordination (MAC) Group
Multi-agency Coordination (MAC) Groups are essential in situations where Federal, State, local, and private sector agencies/organizations have significant statutory responsibilities and/or vested interests. The MAC Group is made up of top management personnel from responsible agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions supporting or impacted by the event. MAC Group representatives are fully authorized to represent, and act on behalf of, their parent organizations. The MAC Group accomplishes high-level interagency coordination and establishes policy decisions, objectives, and priorities that drive the SECC. Also, local MAC Group members provide direction to their local ICs based on the outcomes of MAC Group meetings. The MAC Group is replaced during an oil spill response by a Regional Stakeholder Committee (RSC), which operates in a similar manner to the MAC.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is typically the lead federal agency in disaster emergencies. For oil spills and hazardous substance releases, the National Contingency Plan (NCP) is the guiding policy document, and the EPA is the lead agency for inland spills while the US Coast Guard is the lead agency for spills to navigable waterways. A Joint Federal Office (JFO) will be established to coordinate the federal agency response with state and local authorities. The State is responsible for non-spill emergency coordination between local governments and federal agencies. However, ADEC is responsible for oil and hazardous substance spills when federal agencies and resources are added to the local response.
The director of FEMA will recommend to the President whether to declare an Emergency or Major Disaster after completing a preliminary damage assessment. The President will declare an Emergency or Major Disaster and appoint the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), who serves as the President's representative to the disaster emergency and leads the federal response and recovery efforts from the JFO.
Assistance may be available under the statutory authorities of individual federal agencies in a non-Presidential disaster declaration qualifying event. The Borough Director of Emergency Services may request assistance from the appropriate agencies through the SECC.
The person-in-charge of the affected private sector facility will implement the facility's Emergency Response Plan. S/he activates its Emergency Operations Center, declares a facility emergency, and communicates with the local community to request assistance.
The Borough's IMT and EOC may be activated to support the response at a private facility. A Unified Command will be formed, consisting of facility, local, Borough, State, and federal agency representatives depending upon incident type and jurisdiction requirements,
Local agencies may maintain Incident Command to protect public health and safety for certain types of incidents such as fires and hazardous materials releases. Likewise, the local and/or the Borough IMT and EOC may be selectively activated to support response operations if the private facility or organization responsible for the incident does not have the planning or personnel in place to support a response.
It is important to notify the local hospitals or clinics when an emergency event or incident occurs that might cause human casualties. Medical facilities are important private sector resources during any emergency response.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough uses preparedness levels similar to those in place at the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) to describe situations where the EOP and IMT may be activated. (Note: the Mat-Su Borough has inverted the numbering system used by the state in order to align with the NIMS incident complexity types.)
Criteria used to establish preparedness levels may include:
Preparedness Level 5
Preparedness Level 4
Preparedness Level 3
Preparedness Level 2
Preparedness Level 1
Incident Complexity Types
Once a situation reaches Preparedness Level 3, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will classify the complexity of an incident based on the incident complexity system in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Incidents are classified into five types, in order to make decisions about resource requirements and IMT staffing.
NIMS refers to the following five levels of incident complexity, with Type 5 being the least and Type 1 being the most complex:
Type 5 Incident
Type 4 Incident
Type 3 Incident
Type 2 Incident
Type 1 Incident
Assignment of Responsibilities
The Borough uses an all-hazard emergency management system that encompasses all types of disaster emergencies and enables each government level to integrate public agency with private sector resource providers under NIMS/ICS (National Incident Management System/Incident Command System). This system optimizes and integrates all government levels with the private sector's existing emergency facilities, emergency equipment, and skilled personnel. This is encouraged and necessary for successful plan implementation.
Borough Mayor and Assembly
The role of the Borough Mayor and Borough Assembly during an emergency is to provide legislative guidance and direction, appropriate funds necessary for the disaster emergency response and recovery, and to serve as a direct liaison with the public and other government jurisdiction's elected officials. The Mayor may hold a seat on the MAC.
The Borough Manager is the agency administrator for the Mat-Su Borough and has the ultimate authority and responsibility for the direction and control of Borough resources during an emergency. The Manager has emergency declaration authority. However, on a day-to-day basis, the position of Incident Commander and other authority is delegated as appropriate to the Departments of Emergency Services; which has the power to establish control of an emergency through the Incident Command System. The Borough Manager may assume the duties of Incident Commander if, in his judgment, emergency operations will be enhanced by this action. Operational control of the emergency scene should remain with the lead department or agency.
Department of Emergency Services
The Department of Emergency Services is the designated emergency management agency for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Department of Emergency Services will be responsible for developing Borough disaster response and recovery plans, and for coordinating disaster management between the Borough, the State of Alaska, and other response and recovery entities and organizations.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will, in concert with agencies, private industry and others, develop and adopt plans for a coordinated response to disaster emergencies (as defined in AS 26.23.230) which may occur within the Borough. These plans will be activated in the event of the declaration of a "local disaster emergency" under the terms of AS 26.23.140. All emergency operations plans will provide for emergency management under an ICS format, and will provide for oversight of inter-jurisdictional policy decisions by a Multiple Agency Coordination (MAC) structure which provides for representation from each affected jurisdiction.
Director of Emergency Services
The Director of Emergency Services, under the general direction and supervision of the Borough Manager or their designee, has the primary day-to-day responsibility for disaster management programs and activities as they relate to the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disaster emergencies. The Director of Emergency Services provides a direct liaison between the Borough Manager's Office, service area boards, the Borough Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Borough 911 Advisory Board; and ensures and directs an open line of communications to the Borough Assembly and administration. The Director of Emergency Services also fulfills the role of the Community Emergency Coordinator in accordance with SARA Title III and AS 26.23.
The Deputy Director of Emergency Services is the designated alternate to the Director of Emergency Services and next in the line of succession.
The Emergency Manager is responsible for the management of the Mat-Su emergency management system, including disaster preparedness, response planning, incident recovery, and hazard mitigation planning of identified hazards. In Type 3, 2 or 1 emergencies, the Emergency Manager acts as the Emergency Operations Center Manager during the emergency response phase, and serves as the Incident Recovery Coordinator during the recovery phase. The Emergency Manager reports to the Director of Emergency Services.
Local Emergency Planning Committee
The Borough Assembly in 1990 approved Ordinance 90-012 for the formation of a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) designated the Borough as a Local Emergency Planning District (LEPD). The borough mayor approves the appointment of members to the LEPC. The Local Emergency Planning Committee elected officers, established bylaws and formed subcommittees.
The LEPC is currently composed of 25 positions representing elected officials, responders, private citizens, public health, environmental organizations, media, utilities, regulatory agencies, small business, emergency management, transportation, local and state government, and industry. The mission of the Local Emergency Planning Committee is:
Continuity of Government
A major incident could result in the death or injury of key government officials, destruction of established seats of government, and damage to public records that are essential to continued government operations. The Borough must continue to function as a government entity so that it may provide effective leadership continuity, emergency operations direction, and recovery operations management throughout an emergency. A borough hired contractor began development of the borough Continuity of Operations plan and will complete it in 2010.
Lines of Succession
If the Borough Manager is unable to act due to absence or incapacity, the next person designated in the Borough line of succession will assume his/her emergency management and disaster declaration powers. If any other Borough department head or employee is unable to act in their assigned position, the departmental line of succession will also be followed per resolution #00-075:
Essential Functions, Vital Records, and Worksites
Essential functions are those that deliver life and safety services to residents of the Borough and maintain the economic well-being of the community. All Borough agencies and departments have identified and will annually update their essential functions, the personnel required to perform those functions, and the lines of succession for managerial or specialized staff.
All Borough agencies and departments should develop plans and procedures to guarantee the vital public records preservation during and after emergencies. Vital public records are those that are required for delivery of essential services within the Borough.
All Borough agencies and departments should also develop plans and procedures to deliver essential services when the primary worksite is unavailable. Strategies may involve temporarily relocating to an alternate work site, requiring employees to work from home, and temporarily eliminating non-essential functions.
Part 3, Annex K, contains important information about the disaster recovery process, including priorities for the restoration of vital functions and the assessment and repair of vital facilities and infrastructure.
Administration and Logistics
The Borough Manager, or designee, will authorize a disaster declaration. Upon request from a community or decision that local or Borough resources are not sufficient to meet the emergency; the manager can determine and declare that a Disaster exists. The Borough Director of Emergency Services is the designated alternate with the authority to declare a local disaster, in the absence of the Borough Manager. After the Borough Manager or designee has declared a Disaster, the Manager will:
It is always better to be overly cautious and call for assistance early during an event. It will always be possible to scale down the response, however response time may not occur quickly enough to benefit the affected areas if you wait too long to make notifications and/or assistance requests.
Records and Reports
Each jurisdiction within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough must maintain their own expenditures and obligations records before and during a declared disaster or emergency. These may include narratives and operational journals, ICS forms, and other forms of written documentation.
Plan Management and Updates
This plan was originally developed by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough using the State of Alaska model Emergency Operations Plan published by the former Division of Emergency Services in 1994. It has been periodically updated and revised, and the 2008 version represents a major reorganization of previous versions of the Mat-Su Borough Emergency Operations Plan in order to meet all applicable state and federal authorities for emergency response planning (See Part 1, Authorities). It was updated in 2008 through a consensus-based work group process led by the Mat-Su Borough Department of Emergency Services and including representatives of Mat-Su Borough agencies, local cities, state and federal agencies with emergency response roles, and local agencies and organizations. Participants in the 2008 work group are listed in the Introduction to this EOP.
The overall approach to developing this plan focused on capturing relevant information and procedures, and integrating the Borough's emergency operations planning with other agencies and entities with an emergency response role.
Plan Review Cycle
This Emergency Operations Plan will be reviewed and amended, if necessary:
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Emergency Manager is responsible for coordinating this review with the assistance of the local jurisdictions, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and other subject matter personnel as necessary. Any plan updates or revisions will be distributed electronically to all plan holders, as listed in the Introduction to this EOP. Individual plan holders will be responsible for printing updated copies of this EOP for each revision cycle. The most up-to-date version of the EOP will also be available to view or download from the Mat-Su Borough website.
Drills and Exercises
Drills, training, and exercises are vital to determine the effectiveness of this EOP. Plan testing will help to ensure the maximum readiness of community members and regional responding organizations involved in emergency response.
This plan includes a log of exercises and training. Exercises may include orientation seminars, tabletop drills, and field exercises. Orientation seminars can be meetings that overview the contents of the plan for community members. Tabletop drills can be useful for checking the understanding of notification procedures and response actions. Field exercises are useful for teaching personnel how to use certain types of response equipment, such as containment boom or skimmers for oil spill response.
Borough departments, various agencies and organizations, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee will work with the Borough's Department of Emergency Services to develop and coordinate ongoing disaster training and educational program delivery to develop and implement annual exercises of this Emergency Response Plan.
Participants and observers should evaluate training and exercises and identify any elements of the EOP that need to be revised or updated. Following the critique of the test/exercise, the evaluating group should initiate any necessary changes to the basic plan, to city department SOPs, or implementation procedures. This is an appropriate time to review and update other information contained in the EOP; e.g., personnel assignments, emergency telephone lists, and resources.
This Plan is designed to be used as a training outline to cover much of the above requirements. A recommended training and exercise schedule is included to facilitate planning and funding requests.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:50